A new career-spanning anthology from Jewish historian David Biale, Jewish Culture Between Canon and Heresy, brings over a dozen of his key essays together for the first time. These pieces, written between 1974 and 2016, are all representative of a method Biale calls "counter-history": "the discovery of vital forces precisely in what others considered marginal, disreputable and irrational." The themes that have preoccupied Biale throughout the course of his career—in particular power, sexuality, blood, and secular Jewish thought—span the periods of the Bible, late antiquity, and the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Exemplary essays in this volume argue for the dialectical relationship between modernity and its precursors in the older tradition, working together to "brush history against the grain" in order to provide a sweeping look at the history of the Jewish people. Join YIVO for a discussion focusing on this new anthology featuring Biale in conversation with Sarah Abrevaya Stein.
About the Speakers
David Biale is Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor of Jewish History at the University of California, Davis. He was educated at UC Berkeley, the Hebrew University and UCLA. His most recent books are Hasidism: A New History (with seven co-authors), Gershom Scholem: Master of the Kabbalah and Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought. Earlier books are Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah and Counter-History, Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History, Eros and the Jews and Blood and Belief: The Circulation of a Symbol Between Jews and Christians. He is also the editor of Cultures of the Jews: A New History and the Norton Anthology of World Religions: Judaism. His books have been translated into eight languages and have won the National Jewish Book Award three times.
Professor Biale has served as chair of the Department of History at UC Davis and as Director of the Davis Humanities Institute. He also founded and directed the UC Davis Program in Jewish Studies. In 2011, he won the university’s highest award, the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement. He also founded the Posen Society of Fellows, an international doctoral fellowship for students of modern Jewish history and culture.
Sarah Abrevaya Stein is author or editor of ten books. In The New York Times, Matti Friedman has written that "Stein, a UCLA historian, has ferocious research talents [...] and a writing voice that is admirably light and human." Stein's most recent book, Wartime North Africa, A Documentary History 1934-1950 (Stanford University Press, with the cooperation of the USHMM, 2022), is the first-ever collection of primary documents on North African history and the Holocaust. Stein's previous book, Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux: Macmillman, 2019), explores the intertwined histories of a single family, Sephardic Jewry, and the dramatic ruptures that transformed southeastern Europe and the Judeo-Spanish diaspora. Stein’s books, articles, and pedagogy have won numerous prizes, including two National Jewish Book Awards, the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. Stein is also co-editor (with David Biale of UCD) of Stanford University Press Series in Jewish History and Culture.
Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/Canon-and-Heresy